Hawaii beckons the weary winter resident who’s searching for some relaxing moments on soft beaches while gentle sounds drift across with the breeze. The Big Island, with its high peaks and occasional dustings of snow, seldom attracts the Honolulu-bound pleasure seekers. But Jean-Charles Cuillandre has made a cinematic symphony that has another Hawaii based way of connecting a person to the ethereal pleasures of our existence.
Entitled “Hawaiian Starlight –Exploring the Universe from Mauna Kea”, this DVD shares views and vantages from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. Spectacular stills exhibit galaxies, star trails, asterisms and the occasional portion of the lunar surface. Simple transformations, whether rotating, enlarging or shrinking, give impressions of dynamism. Bright, almost startling, colours capture the attention and the viewer’s wonder. With views that continually change and a soundtrack that steadily supports and subtly thrills, the main feature of this DVD easily keeps viewers in awe.
The DVD makes the connection to Mauna Kea by including many clips created through judicious use of time-lapse cinematography. Great telescopes open and close their shutters in a blink of an eye. People dance along the periphery of roads while the trace of car lights fall from the top of the mountain like colourful red and yellow ribbons. And, if you like roiling, bubbling cloud tops, you’ll be entranced by the many such clips from the vantage of the top of the great volcano. Then, should you want more, a special feature slide show of ‘Hawaii’s natural beauty’ will take you well away from the stars and drop you amidst the vibrant flora and fauna that grace Hawaii.
Though so much of this DVD entertains as a vibrant visual treat, a few other special features add some science to the mix. Included amongst these are explanations of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, other nearby telescopes, the Mauna Kea volcano, and time-lapse cinematography. Yet, it’s difficult to draw oneself away from the shear beauty of the views so as to allow the technical details to slip in.
By dancing the views between twilight, night skies, deep star formation and mountain tops, this DVD keeps a viewer’s intrigue. The pace is good, though the chapter titles don’t seem to be particularly relevant. The same music plays throughout. It’s wonderfully appropriate but can feel repetitive by the end. And, there’s no annotation of what’s being looked at. Hence, enjoyment takes precedence over instruction. But, for pure enjoyment, this “Hawaiian Starlight –Exploring the Universe from Mauna Kea” DVD by Jean-Charles Cuillandre will expand your senses to vistas well beyond the surface of our wonderful world.